Navajo tribe breaks ground on casino in New Mexico

Farmington, New Mexico (AP) March 2011

The Navajo Nation tribe has broken ground on its third casino.

It’s a planned $66 million facility in Upper Fruitland, N.M., located less than one-tenth of a mile from the reservation border and neighboring the city of Farmington.

The Daily Times of Farmington says the groundbreaking ceremony took place last week.

The 85,000-square-foot Northern Edge Navajo Casino is expected to open in mid-January 2012. It is projected to create 1,600 temporary construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs, allocating between $12 million and $13 million per year in wages and benefits.

Then-Navajo President Joe Shirley Shirley signed gaming compacts with Arizona and New Mexico in 2003, clearing the way for the gaming industry on the nation’s largest American Indian reservation.

The tribe opened its first casino in 2008 in Church Rock, N.M.